Burlap Curtains

Today I'm going to share with you a secret to making burlap curtains.  Burlap is SO cheap and readily available these days (in multiple colors) that it can really be used for ANYTHING around the house.  I've used it for a tablecloth, decorative pillow cover, table runner, placemat, gift wrapping, ground cover, mat for a picture frame, lampshade re-do, bench upholstery, Christmas tree skirt, and now curtains!  It's so easy to work with and like I said, you can find it anywhere in large quantities.  (even Walmart sells it by the roll now!)  When we first moved in to our house, I needed to immediately cover the window in our kitchen for privacy reasons but it was such an awkward size that I knew it would have to be something custom.  Since that wasn't in the budget, and I needed something fast, making a window treatment myself was the only option!  A few years ago, Margo taught me how to hand stitch a hem on curtain panels and she, my mom, and I made tons of them!!!  I remembered it being super easy and I was able to sell them with our last house for $$$$!!!  So, I knew I could tackle this little window.  I wanted to use a light colored fabric to allow light to still come in but I also needed something that would keep people from seeing into our house from the street.  I had some extra burlap laying around and decided to go with that.  I figured if it didn't look good, I could always change it and I wouldn't waste money in the process.   I started out by measuring the window, then cut the fabric to fit the measurements plus 1/2" on each side for the hems.  Then I folded the sides and bottom hems 1/2" and marked them with pins just like a tailor would do for clothes so I knew where to start my stitch.  But after stitching in and out for a few inches I realized that the hem wasn't laying completely flat like other fabrics usually do because of the lose holes in the burlap.  So, being the impatient person that I am, I ripped the thread out and ran for my secret weapon.......the hot glue gun!  Now I know I probably just lost most of you but don't roll your eyes, groan, or give up.  Keep reading I PROMISE it gets better!

YES, I took a hot glue gun to some burlap and made a curtain panel out of it!  YES, the window covering in my kitchen is HOT GLUED!  Have I made your upper lip curl?  It's not as bad as it sounds.  I have to say, I have never had anyone say "did you hot glue those?" "is that hot glue on that fabric?" because YOU CANNOT TELL THE DIFFERENCE!  Even when I show people up close and explain to them what I did, they always say "where is the glue"?  The hem looks like it was stitched.  See!!!!.......

So, This is how I did it...

First, measure your window and cut your fabric to fit the window plus 1/2" on each side for the hem.  (add more if you'd like a thicker hem)  After you have your fabric cut to fit, fold your hem around the bottom and 2 side edges.  I usually make a 1/2" fold.  Then you pin your hem with straight pins that can easily be removed.  Then you start by inserting the glue inside your fold on the bottom hem first!  I usually start in the middle because it provides more stability for the entire fold.  Insert a few inches of glue, quickly remove the pins in that same area, and press the fold together so that the glue fuses the folded pieces of burlap together.  ** sometimes the glue may seep through the fabric and get on your hands.  If you are afraid of this, wear gloves.  I've been burned so many times by hot glue I hardly even notice anymore**  Continue this until your entire bottom hem is finished.
Next, repeat this same exact process on each side of your vertical hems.  *Note, you will need to fold the corners of your vertical hems onto the bottom hem that you just finished.  Like this....

Finally, the last step, the top hem.  You have 2 choices here.  Either you can make a simple, flat hem like we just did on the bottom and sides, repeating the same exact steps OR you can leave a large space for the curtain rod to feed through the fabric, i.e. a "rod pocket".  I have done it both ways.  It's really just a personal preference.  Here are pictures of both....

This is the top hem I chose for the kitchen window curtain.  It has a rod pocket for the drapery rod to fit through it.  The burlap hangs directly on the rod.  

If you choose to do this one (rod pocket), fold your fabric over enough to allow the rod to fit through plus 1/4" to allow for movement when you go to open and close your curtains.  Secure your fold with pins again in a straight line.  Then, place a line of hot glue along the edge of the folded fabric to secure it just like we did with the other hems.  (make sure you do this on the same side as your other hems, duh!)

So there you have it!  If I haven't completely turned you off, now you know how to make easy, quick, inexpensive curtain panels with nothing but a HOT GLUE GUN!  I recently switched to a cordless glue gun and it has changed my life forever!!!!

After sharing this tutorial with friends who have come over and seen these curtain panels first hand, I always get asked the question "why didn't you use fabric glue?".  I actually tried using fabric glue on a different window treatment project with a different kind of fabric and it was a DISASTER!  Fabric glue takes FOREVER to dry!  (forever to me is more than 10 minutes!  The thought of waiting for something to dry for more than 10 minutes makes me itch! I don't have time for that)  Also, the glue got everywhere when I tried to fold the hem together and I can only imagine the mess it would make with burlap!

Eventually, I will replace these curtain panels with something more professional and custom looking, but for right now, they serve a purpose, look good in my house, and didn't break the bank so I'm very pleased!

Well that's it for today.  Tomorrow I hope to be back with a post featuring one of my good friends and her hand crafted, super cool, works of art that would make great Christmas gifts!!!  CAN'T WAIT TO SHARE THIS ONE WITH YOU!!!!!

Remember, when life hands you lemons, turn them into something lovely!

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